It is very easy to moralize about others when one's belly is full, and
one is not in danger for uttering one's opinions.
Almost all men are moral
failures and frauds by their very own moral norms.
The fewer social ties, that is, the less is the chance to be found out,
the more likely ordinary men will lie to others.
Almost all ordinary social
behavior is fraudulent: People would not act socially as they do, if
they did not fear punishment or disapproval for not doing it, or if
they did not expect advantanges or praise from doing it.
Ordinary men naturally assume all men act from self-interest only, and
indeed this is generally true of ordinary men, apart from their friends
There is genuine altruism, but
it is personal and limited.
Most saints are frauds.
Rationally speaking, it is useless to consider morals without realizing
that the greatest part of all moral speaking and acting is posturing or
Very few people - in modern
western societies - act morally and fairly to others, if this does not
conform to their own interests, and they do not fear being found out
Cynics often have said that books of morals and sermons make no real
difference, because people are hypocrites anyway. These cynics forget
that people are not moral because they believe in morals, but because
they expect to be found out and punished when they behave or speak
counter to the moral norms of their society.
Few men have been converted by
books of morals or sermons, but since all men are ideological apes, and
rationalizing social animals, they need to acquire some system of
beliefs, desires, ends and values to orient, guide and behave
themselves, and understand others.
The great handicap of the small minority of the fair, the honest, the
reasonable and the rational, is that the great majority is neither
fair, nor honest, nor reasonable, nor rational, and especially not to
those who are not members of their own group.
Philosophers and theologians who do not know science or mathematics are
like the congenitally blind who dogmatize about painting.
It does not require great talents of any kind to behave morally and
decently to others - all it usually requires in ordinary society is
some character, some honesty, some self-control, and a little altruism
If only a few intelligent men
and women reach similar conclusions about human frailties as a few
intellectually less privileged reach, it seems few people are really
As soon as intellectual ideas
are involved, that are remote from everyday practice and common sense,
or ideas which strongly involve the emotions, such as religious or
political ideas, most men cease to be rational.
Very few men know how to be social without lying or posturing. Almost
all social behavior is fraudulent, like almost all public speaking is